Friday, August 17, 2007

Odd Match + Good Position

John L. Allen Jr. enlightens readers of his weekly column, this week about Sunnis, Shia and Catholicism and how they are related. Of the Sunni branch of Islam:
Over the years, Catholic-Muslim relations have tended to focus on Sunnis. Yet in some ways it's an odd match; with their low-church view of clergy, congregationalist models of community life, and sola scriptura approach to the Qur'an, Sunnis often resemble Calvinists more than Catholics.
Of the Shia branch of Islam, Mr. Allen opens with a nudge, which can yield hope:
The rise of this "Shi'a crescent" [from Lebanon on the Mediterranean coast all the way to Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent] deserves far more Catholic reflection than it's received, because Catholicism may be in a unique position to nudge Shi'ites toward reconciling their intense religious commitment with peace and pluralism.
Learn why Mr. Allen calls the "emergence of Shi'a Islam as an emboldened force" a surge of more important than the military surge news media report.
Bunchofgrapes image of the Italy-to-India route depicts well Mr. Allen's "'Shi'a Cresent.'" The image is used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation license.

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